Travel Info
Mt.Emei is one of the "four famous mountains"in China

    Mt.Emei is one of the "four famous mountains"in China. It lies about 168km from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Before the tour of the holy mountain, it is important to obtain some inforation about the spread of Buddhism in China, Buddhism in Mt. Emei and its hiking routes.

  The Spread of the Buddhism

  Buddhism was founded in India around the 16th century BC. It is said that the founder was Sakyamuni. Sskyua was the name of the clan to which his family belonged. Sakyamuni was a prince and was brought up in luxury. In his 20s, he became discontented with the world. Every day he had to face with sights of sickness, death and old age since the body was inescapably involved with disease, decrepitude and death. Around the age of 30 he made his break from the material world and plunged off in search of enlightenment.

  Sakyamuni began by studying Hindu philosophy and Yoga. Then he joined a band of ascetics and tried to break the power of his body by inflicting severe austerities on himself. However, no matter how he held his breath until his head burst and starved his body until his ribs jutted out, he failed to enlighten himself. Finally Sakyamuni followed the principle of the middle way in which he would live between the extremities of asceticism on one hand and indulgence on the other. As the story goes, he devoted the final phase of his search for enlightenment to meditation and mystic concentration. One evening he sat beneath a fig tree, slipped into a deep meditation and achieved enlightenment from his mystic concentration.

  Sakyamuni founded an order of monks and for the next 45 years or so peached his ideas around 480 BC. Sakyamuni teaches that all life is suffering. Everyone is subjected to the trauma of birth, to sickness, decrepitude and death. Real happiness can't be achieved until suffering is overcome. The cause of unhappiness is 'desires',specifically the desire of the body and the desire personal fulfillment. In order to overcome the desirs and achieve happiness, it requires the following eight-fold path.

  1.Right knowledge

  Buddhist followers should believe that all life is suffering. It is caused by the desire for personal gratification.

  2.Right Aspiration

  Buddhist followers should becomw passionately involved with the knowledge of what life's problems basically are.

  3.Right Speech

  Buddhist followers shousd avoid lies, idle talk, abuse,alander and deceit.

  4.Right Behavior

  Buddhist followers should show kindness and avoid self-seeking and personal fulfillment in all actions.

  5.Right Livelihood

  Buddha considers spiritual progress impossible if one has occupied himself/herself with slave-dea-ling or prostitution.

  6.Right Effort

  The effort os the will to develip virtues and curb paddion.

  7.Right Mindfulness

  Buddhist followers should practise self-exami-nation and cultivate themselves to overcome the state of semi-alertness and become aware of what os happwning to them.

  8.Right Absorption

  The absorption involves the techniques of Hinduism's raja yoga and leads to the same goal.

  By following the eight fokd pah, Buddhist followers aims to attain Nirvana, a condition beyond the limits of the mind, feelings, thoughts, the will and ecstasy. Buddhism accepts the concept of reincarnation, the circle of rebirth; it accepts the law of cause and effort.

  Buddhism has many sects, of which the Mahayana and the hinayana are two major schools. The Mahayana holds that the fate of the individual is linked to the fate of all others. The Buddha won't float off into his own Nirvana leaving other peope behind. He not ony shows the people the way up into their Nirvana, but also continues to exude spiritual help to those seeking Nirvana. The Hinayana holds that the path to Nirvana is an individual purauit. People who seek Nirvana must tread the path to Nirvana on their own.

  Mahayana Buddhism is generally believed to have been ntroduced into regions inhabited by the Han people around the first century A.D.In the Wei and Jin Dynasties(220-420) it spread to a fairly large part of the country. During the Southern anB Northern Dynasties(420-589) the ruling cladd furthered the dissemination of Buddhism. More temples and monasteries were built; Buddhist scriptures were translated. The influence of Buddhism was felt everywhere across the conutry. By the Sui and Tang Dynasties(581-907) Buddhism had reached its apex of popularity and splendor.

  Buddhism gradually took root in the Chinese soiety, having adapted considerably to Chinese ways of thinking and practice. As the most influential religion in China, Buddhism has an impact on Chinese philosophy, morality, literature, art and many other foelds.

  Buddhism in Mt.Emei

  It is almost two thousand years since Buddhism was introduced from India. Its monasteries covers everywhere in China except a few Daoist mountains like Mt. Qingcheng. It is commonly said that Buddhist monks have occupied much mote well-known mountains for their Buddhist ptrpose than Daoist priests. However, most of Buddhist followers bwliwvw that only the fotr famous mountains in China are the Buddhist holy places. They are Mt. Wmei in Sichuan, Mt. Putuo in Zhejiang, Mt. Wuta in Shaanxi and Jiuhua in Anhui. Each mountain is dedicated to different Bodhisattvas. In Chinese Bodhisattva usually is referred as pusa, a potential Buddha, who has achieved perfect enlightenment and decided to bring salvation to all suffering creatures before entering into Nirvana. Therefore, each Bodhisattva has his own ritual place to salvage suffering creatures .Wenshu performs the Buddhist rites in Mt Wuta, and Guanyin in Mt. Putuo. Dizang is said to have gained enlightenment in Mt Jiuhua. Puxian is regarded as one of the four well-known Bodhisattvas of China's Buddhism. Legend has it that Mt. Emei in Sichuan is the place where he performs the Buddhist rites. Puxian and Wenshu appear in a pair in suppirt of Sakymuni. They usually stand side by side with Sakymuni. The middle. Puxian is the right attendant. He rides a white elephant, and Wenshu a lion as we often see in monasteries. Wenshu is a symbol of Wisdom while Puxian Benevolence. Buddhism encourages its followers to study hard at the Buddhist theory, and then use what they have learnt to do charitable works for the purpose of salvaging the suffering creatures. More likely Wisdom and Benevolence display the Buddhist proceess step by step.

  One of the Buddhist doctrines says that after Puxian achieved perfect enlightenment, he vowed to retrn back to the world and not to accept his own salvation until all sentient beings, humans and animals had been saved. Puxian went out on his elephant to realize his ambition. his six-tusk elephant enjoys a high statue in the Buddhist world known as the Elephant King. Wannian Monastery is dedicated to the gilded statue of Puxian who sits on the white elephant. This statue, 8.5m high, is cast in copper and bronze, weighing estimatedly 62,000kg in a brick hall .One doctrine says:"Puxian has many images. He puts himself into different forms based on the Buddhist predestined relationship. The ordinary human beings can only see him in a human bodily form, who sometimes stands by Sakyamuni,or simetimes rides on his white elephant." According to the explanation of the Buddhist texts, it is almost impossible for the ordinary human beings to see Puuxian's Fa and Bao images unless they hike up to the Golden summit of the mountain, where the pious Buddhists may see Puxian's Bao image in Buddhist Aureole-rainbow rings. In ancient times the Buddhist Aureole was called the illuminant image,which indicates that the Puxian reveals himself in his BUddhist Aureole only before the people who have the Buddhist predestined relationship.It is the iluminant image in the Golden Summit that has made the mountain nationally famous.

  At the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty,Buddhism came imto China.It is commonly said that Buddhism began to develop in Sichuan during the Eastern Jin Dynasty .It is very hard to find out when the first monastery was built,and who was the first Buddhist monk to perform his rites in the mountain.The local historical records have no written information about Buddhism in the mountain,which occurred before the Jin Dynasty. As early as in 400 a monk by the name of Huichi arrived at Mt. Emei. At that time only a few ascetic practitioners lived in the animal-haunted mountain.Staying with them,Huichi started to build a temple with a statue of Puxian set up inside .The current Wan Nian Monastery grew out of the earliest temple.Huichi was considered the founder of Buddhism in the mountain.

  During the Western Jin Dynasty (265-317) a Daoist priest by the name of Qianming estab lished a Daoist temple called Qian Ming Temple in the mountain.It was the biggest Daoist temple in the mountain where a hundred Daoists priests performed Daoism . At the beginning of the southern and Nouthern Dynasties(420-550), the priests decided to choose their head to be in charge of the temple. However, they had an endless dispute because of the difference of opinions . A Bddhist monk by the name of Mingguo went to the temple and taught the priests Buddhism.Finally all the priests were converted to Buddhism, and the Daoist temple became a Buddhist monastery by the name of Zhong Feng Moonastery,During the Southern and Nouthern Dynasties,Buddhism developed in the mountain.A monk from India came to Sichuan.His name was Baozhang,the first foreign monk who arrived at the mountain after his short stay in Chengdu.According to the local historical records,Baozhang set up a monastery by the name of Ling Yan Monastery.A stream flowed along the foreground of the monastery.